Jun 6, 2009

Video Art Salon - Check Out Anti-Oxidant!

©Lauren Silberman

For this weekend only Anti-Oxidant BK will do a two day screening in the Den at Northeast Kingdom. There will be video art screenings all day long this Saturday and Sunday. Stop in for a refreshing break and view some fantastic work from your local Bushwick video artists!

The Northeast Kingdom
18 Wycoff
Corner of Troutman and Wycoff
Bushwick, BK


Lindsay Benedict
Through film, performance, and various media Lindsay Benedict presents us with fragments and gestures that examine and question social relations. In her work, affect and raw emotion are often deployed to disrupt and destabilize any simple reading of human connections. A wide ranging temporality, from more deliberate and slowly conceived films and sewn texts to the more immediately gestural drawings allow a dense layering of material and narrative to unravel and intertwine simultaneously.

Christina Medina

Armed with a ten-year-old's imagination, I am dreamer by nature and prefer to wonder what the world would be like upside down. My motivation is derived from an examination of my own childhood memories, longings, aspirations, and beliefs. I would like to wake the dormant dreams we left behind with our dolls and toy cars. Teetering between a need for financial security and living a life of adventurous exploration of my heart’s desires, I remain a believer in truth, beauty, but most importantly LOVE.

Jake Selvidio

I have been making short, documentary-style videos for five years. They have become a collective autobiography that encompasses my friends, family and past relationships. I studied photography and video at Pratt Institute, where I received my MFA.

Hypa Skopitz
Hyla Skopitz grew up with a giant papier maché hot dog on the mantle and a rubber bat hanging from the chandelier. She naturally developed an eye for detail and ironic juxtapositions. As a teenager, she began documenting the endless shelves and cubbyholes filled with miscellaneous screws and bolts, coils of wires covered in cobwebs, and arcane gadgets in various states of disrepair that her grandfather, a child of the depression, had collected in secret basement rooms. Her photographs and videos continue to investigate familial relics, nostalgia, and sentimentality. They oscillate between diaristic and documentary, emotional and objective, the present and memory. She received her masters of fine arts at ICP-Bard. She currently works in the MET Museum Photo Studio and lives in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. Her most recent photographs are featured in the next "Abe’s Penny" (Volume 1.4, June).

Lauren Silberman
Lauren Silberman received her BA from Barnard College and her MFA from Bard College and currently resides in Brooklyn. She is a visiting scholar at NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development and is the recipient of awards from PDN. She has performed at Location One and Deitch Projects, as well as in the several underground events and venues that have provided inspiration for her work. She is a founder of the performance group Fakework and she utilizes photography, video, performance, and objects in her work.

Julie Hanus

Joy Whalen
Receiving her BFA from Columbia College Chicago in 2005 and MFA from Pratt Institute in 2007, Joy’s practice involves a combination of drawing, performance and video. Much of this work involves environmental depictions of a nether land, which fluctuates in a space caught within the tensions of a preceding and ensuing state of change, where industrial overthrow and urbanization are challenged by resilience of the natural world.

Jun 5, 2009

Interview with Jill Sigman from Jill Sigman/Think Dance

Okay so all you folks up late, trying to figure out what you’re going to see at Bushwick Open Studios tomorrow and Sunday…or if you’re reading this on Saturday and maybe even Sunday Jill Sigman is a must see. It’s very refreshing to have someone like her in our hood. Ever feel like if you’ve seen one dance performance you’ve seen ‘em all? Well not with this girl! I don’t know about y’all but I’m keeping my eye on her because she’s riding this crazy wave that’s bringing dance, performance art and mixed media into a “post apocalyptic landscape” called now and the future.

Jill Sigman is a choreographer and mixed media artist who is trained in classical ballet with a background in Analytic Philosophy. Over the years she drifted into modern dance and eventually created her own sort of idiosyncratic way of moving. She founded her company, Jill Sigman/Think Dance about 10 years ago. Her recent work involves lots of layering of video, live music, text, objects and any other things that enhance the meaning of her work. She aims to create work that helps people to think about things that are going on in the world; that are immediate and of pressing concern. Sigman started working in her space (right across from Archive Cafe) about a year and a half ago. Although her studio is a visual arts studio and not a movement studio she finds lots of value in it because she feel likes the visual artists who share her space definitely help inform her work.

Jill; Brooklyn born and raised finds it ironic that while she moved away from Brooklyn to get away from the nest, all of her friends over the past few years have moved here. Sigman wholeheartedly believes in the borough and is attached to the culture and messiness of it (Bushwick specifically); however she understands that a big reason why several artists are here is because of economics.

Sigman found out about Open Studios through Arts in Bushwick’s fabulous marketing and promoting. For her first BOS performance Jill had an open rehearsal and she put up some videos and photos. This performance actually made her realize how much of a gift BOS is to the artists in this community. It happened that the week after the BOS show she was having a performance and because of her involvement in Open Studios several people who’d seen her work the week prior returned to see more.

For this year’s Open Studios Sigman will be showing movement scores created through inspiration of recent found objects, that she later manipulated in various ways. One of her colleagues described some of these objects as, “post apocalyptical emotional packages.” These movement scores will also be part of the exchange that she is doing as part of Re-Imagining Utopia in New York City. Sigman says that the project with MRX Austria is very fitting at this time; when she found out the central theme that she would be working with for this weekend would be about the balance of hope and despair, she felt like it was the direction she was already going in with her work that she is currently focusing on. With this piece (which is completely experimental) Sigman is playing with the idea of the body: body politic, geographic body, body of Brooklyn, human body etc. So she is covering her own body with moss, purified water packets amongst other objects and like a “refugee she is searching for the place where it’s all ok, where she can put down all her stuff and find roots again.” Expect to see this performance Saturday and Sunday around 4pm—there will be an installation of objects up both Saturday and Sunday from 2-6pm.

Jill would like to say great job to Arts in Bushwick! The work that AIB is doing has allowed her to experiment in ways that she normally wouldn’t have. She has been able to depart from her normal way of production and truly experiment.

“It is very liberating as a movement artist, in this context [Open Studios]...People are looking from a different perspective. And it’s refreshing that when I put up my visuals people find value in that and I don’t always have to be dancing when people come to the studio. In the dance world/community generally people tend to look at mixed media art and they have a hard time having things occupy two boxes at once. The people who come through are part of the contemporary media culture. Arts in Bushwick has convinced me that you can do things here and there will be an audience for it.”Jill Sigman

Some BOS Press from L Magazine!

©Aurora Robson

L Magazine Article:

Escaping from the Art Market
by Benjamin Sutton

The world’s oldest art fair, the Venice Biennale, opens its gilded doors on Sunday for the 53rd time since 1894, but here in Brooklyn another centuries-old art tradition continues with the weekend-long Bushwick Open Studios and Arts Festival (BOS). Where the former is a vaguely nationalist canonizing ceremony for participating countries’ top artists, the not-for-profit arts festival in Bushwick conforms nearly perfectly to our romantic fantasies about what an arts community ought to be. In other words, these two huge events are pretty nearly opposite extremes on the spectrum between art-for-profit and art-for-art’s sake. We all know what happened to Soho, though, so how realistic is it to idolize New York’s newest pioneering art community as the antithesis of commercial art?

“I hope that Bushwick will remain sustainable and resist transforming into a commercial market for art speculators, developers, and moguls,” Steve Weintraub, co-founder of Arts in Bushwick (AIB), the non-hierarchical, all-volunteer group that has organized the BOS since 2006, explained via-email. Weintraub – who holds degrees from Oberlin and NYU and manages a gallery in Chelsea – doesn’t exactly fit with the starving bohemian paradigm. Unlike many members of AIB, Weintraub doesn’t produce art either. “I am not an artist in the traditional sense,” he notes, “although I am a major arts supporter!” Still, part of what has set Bushwick apart from art districts in Manhattan and even its northern neighbor Williamsburg is that its appeal comes from the community it fosters rather than the commercial interest it attracts.

That’s not to say that artists in Bushwick don’t sell their work, but that they don’t absolutely need to do so in order to keep working. As Chloë Bass, who works on AIB’s performance art and community-oriented projects, put it: “our goal is for Bushwick to develop as a sustainable community.” That doesn’t mean becoming urban farmers – although, presumably, that would jive nicely with the neighborhood’s image – simply that its artists want to be able to complete their projects without depending on external cash. “We’re entirely financed by support from local businesses and donations,” Bass pointed out, “and we’ve never applied for a grant.”

Of course, the turnover time between when an arts community claims to be a creative not-for-profit group and the day it turns into a commercial gallery district is getting shorter every decade, so stubbornly claiming that that won’t happen seems, well, a little naïve. “I think we’re slowly moving away from a DIY model,” Bass conceded, “towards a more formal organization that doesn’t depend on an all-volunteer workforce.” Still, she and Weintraub see this as the Bushwick art scene’s greatest strength. “It’s something of a self-selecting group,” Bass continues, “you only get as much from it as you’re willing to put in, and ultimately only the most passionate people stick around.” Weintraub echoes the sentiment: “If we all work together, we can achieve something larger than the small projects we would have realized separately.”

Bushwick’s self-feeding goal might have become slightly more viable with the recession, too. Other arts districts where galleries have to pay steep rents are seeing new “For Rent” signs popping up every week, but, as a trip to craigslist will show you, space in Bushwick is still relatively cheap. “Bushwick has become a place where artists can afford to both live and work,” Weintraub writes, “In this respect, the recession is a positive thing, as it will help to slow the rampant growth of the neighborhood and keep rental prices affordable.” It’s not just artists dealing with rising rents, of course.

Bushwick’s dramatic turnaround from a desolate urban war zone in 1990 to a rising working-class neighborhood and long shot yuppie outpost at the beginning of the aughts has engendered a not always smooth gentrification process. “We are working with local community leaders,” Weintraub writes, “to make sure that longtime residents and the more recent artist community can aid each other as we both grow together.” If that sounds like code for “Bushwick hipsters are trying to be a little more sensitive to the locals whose rents they’re raising than their Williamsburg counterparts,” well, that’s pretty accurate. Still, Bushwick has managed to remain fairly affordable and wild – Gawker listed it as “Marginal” on their degentrification map.

So what does this all mean for the art you’ll see at the BOS this weekend? Well, lots of collaborative projects by artists living and working in shared spaces. “When the artists choose to open up their studios,” Weintraub points out, “they are opening up their lives for the public to walk into to, literally, as their studio is often their living room or bedroom.” Expect a fair share of big, ambitious, rough around the edges installations, sculptures, drawings, videos, performances and paintings with politicized and radical agendas, like Aurora Robson’s trippy, bug-like, mobile sculptures made from plastic bottles (pictured).

As Bass notes: “We try to always go as big as possible, branching out in all directions. We’re very much into spectacles.” And those don’t only take the form of visual art. There will be a mini-golf course, dance, theater, screenings, sample sales, readings and receptions. For her part, Bass will be participating in a cabaret performance she’s organized at Starr Space (108-110 Starr St) on Saturday night (7:40pm, $5 suggested donation). It may have been programmed more loosely than its corporate Venetian antithesis, but the BOS has all the breadth and variety of a major art fair.

For a full schedule and map of the BOS events and exhibitions taking place throughout Bushwick today through Sunday, click here.

Palmetto A.I.R.

So no, Visual Arts is not my forte' but, I had to post something about this really cool space right down the street from my apartment called Palmetto A.I.R. Palmetto A.I.R is an artist studio located at 130 Palmetto in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Just yesterday I met with Diane Smith one of the artists of the Palmetto A.I.R collective. Palmetto A.I.R is located in a commercial building (which also houses a wicker furniture manufacturer) with the entire 3rd floor dedicated to the artist gallery. According to Diane most of the group has been there for eleven years and everyone else has been there no less than five years.

Diane Smith (and yes that is her real name) is a very interesting gal. Smith is a performance/visual artists working primarily in video and performance. For BOS weekend Diane will be, “putting herself in an outlandish look in an ordinary setting.” She showed me this very cool looking alien mask that she made herself which she will be wearing with a fur coat for her performance piece. Most of her video installations involve this alien character. Her recent work involves lots of editing, abstracting and modifying of video.

Diane is from Pittsburgh, PA and came upon Bushwick, BK in a very interesting way. Back in ’97 she was just finishing grad school at Southern Illinois at Carbondale when she and her boyfriend at the time decided to pack up and move to New York. Diane knew very little about New York City and just before her and her boo hit the road they found out about a sublet in Bushwick (site unseen) and decided to throw caution to the wind and rent out the space regardless of conditions. Hey they needed somewhere to go; they had little money and no other temporary options for housing. Nonetheless, they came to the space, set up shop and the rest is history!

So a little bit about the other artists who will be presenting at Palmetto A.I.R…

Deirdre Synek will be showing some very meticulous watercolors of skinned rabbits.

Karin Minkin will be showing some two dimensional digitally generated works.

Shawn Kelloway will be showing some of his super toxic plastic medium with casting and color.

Jamie a jewelry designer will be showing some of her recent designs.

Edgar Lituma who is huge into surf boards will be showing some video of paddle boarding (fyi-Diane says this should be pretty cool-for all of you who’ve never seen paddleboarding it can look a bit grim reaper-ish like paddling into the darkside but cool nonetheless)

Sean-Michael Fleming (who is also a big community activist – yay Sean!) will primarily be manning the Art Circus happening on Sunday from noon-6pm. The Bindlestiff Family Cirkus will be involved and it sounds like it should be a really good time!

Chris Hicks (who was a SVA faculty member for quite some time) will be showing some of his small water colors.

Plus 5 other artists will be showing some video installations specially for Bushwick Open Studios. This Video Forum will be happening on Saturday, June 6 from 9-10pm. Artists participating in the Video Forum are Jeb Banegas, Matt Hayes, Joe Nanashe, Diane Smith, James Thatcher, Marina Zamalin and IVVVI.

FYI Palmetto A.I.R. is still looking for volunteers for their video forum. Help ‘em out there maybe a cool popcorn machine with free popcorn involved.

If you wanna check Palmetto A.I.R for yourself visit their website here

Jun 4, 2009

Interview With BOS Artist: Cibele Vieira

**Cibele Vieira be showing her work at 119 Ingraham St., #207**

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m from Brazil and have been living in the US for 11 years (7 years in NYC + 4 years in Ann Arbor, Michigan). I left Brazil to discover new things, to study, to grow and then found my home in New York.

What project(s) will you be showing during this year's open studios festival?

I’m showing a project called “Senseless”, in which I get knick-knacks from the dollar store, spray paint them white and then photograph them. It’s what in photography we called ‘high key’ because it accentuates the white in an image. Using the whiteness, camera angles and depth of focus I explore the properties that the image has in suggesting new meanings for things.

What inspired this project?

This project started as an organic response to my personal life, which has been quite shaken this past year. I lost my dad to cancer after the long and brutal battle of someone who would not accept the end of his existence. The economic downturn hit me hard when I was not prepared. As a result, I confined myself to my studio searching for a new project as a way to reconcile my new reality. Things looked the same but did not mean the same. I found that by painting those cheap objects white I could in some way translate the ruptures in my life into my work - work that has always been full of color.

Any plans in the works?

I think this project has more to give me. I’m imagining playing with combinations of objects that might suggest narrative. But it’s too early - let’s not spoil it.

How long have you lived in Bushwick, and what initially drew you to the neighborhood?

In 2006 I lived in a house in Bushwick with a backyard and I loved it. I’m living in Greenpoint now but have my studio in Bushwick. What is great about it is that there are colleagues all around to motivate, inspire and nurture the work - which makes easier to keep producing art in these tough times.

Can you recommend any Bushwick artists or art venues that you think we should check out?

Yes, I think everybody should check the show Fortress to Solitude this festival weekend - some very interesting work is going to be shown there.

Thank you Cibele!

To learn more about Cibele's art practice, check out her website.

Jun 3, 2009

Lumenhouse Exhibition: Our House

©Sara Hubbs

©Matthew Brownell

©Megan Hays

©Stephen Workman

Don't miss the exhibition at Lumenhouse during the BOS Festival this weekend, featuring work by resident Lumenhouse artists Matthew Brownell, Megan Hays, Sara Hubbs, and Stephen Workman. Each artist will be present to discuss their work, and will have their studios open on-site as well where you can learn more about their art practice and view more work.

The opening celebration will run concurrent with Bushwick Open Studios on Saturday, June 6th from 12-7pm. Complimentary beverages from 5-7. This event is free and open to the public. Our House has been coordinated with BOS, and the gallery hours have been extended for Sunday, June 7th from 12-7.

For more information visit: www.lumenhouse.com or call 718.942.5395.

Our House
June 6 – July 5, 2009
Opening Saturday, June 6th, 12 - 7 pm

Location & Parking:

Lumenhouse exhibition space is located at 47 Beaver St., Brooklyn, NY 11206 at the corner of Park St. in East Williamsburg/Bushwick. LUMENHOUSE is 3 blocks from the J/M train Flushing Ave. Station. Visitors may park in front of the loading dock on Park St. nearest the corner of Beaver St.


Lumenhouse exhibition space is open from 12-5, Saturdays & Sundays. Weekdays by appointment.

About Lumenhouse:

"Lumenhouse is an emerging arts organization located in an old factory in an economically depressed neighborhood in Brooklyn. It is a collaboration between visual artist Aurora Robson and cinematographer Marshall Coles.

Since Lumenhouse’s inception, we have been focusing on providing an affordable, professional space for the creation and development of fine arts via art studios, workshops, film screenings, exhibitions, photography, art documentation services, performance space, community forums and other cultural events. We have also been hosting a variety of community arts events including FluxConcert, The Brooklyn International Film Festival, The Bushwick Film Festival, Bushwick Open Studios Annual Benefits, SITE Performance Festival, LouderArts Poetry Slam, Community Forums, Artist Talks, and various art exhibitions.

We are currently working on transforming Lumenhouse into the first solar-powered multi-media, multi-use art space. Using solar power will help us achieve financial sustainability while raising environmental consciousness and exploring the potential of energy from the sun."

BOS Listings Available Online!

The partial BOS artist and event listings can now be viewed here! Check it out to see which artists are participating, learn more about their studio practice and get a first glimpse of their work. There are many exciting events and exhibitions listed as well. Artists and venues are still signing up, so be sure to check back regularly!

Jun 2, 2009

Interview With BOS Artist: David McBride

**David McBride will be showing his work at 1182 Flushing Ave, 2nd Fl**

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m from Ohio. I came to New York in August, 2001, to go to Hunter, which I finished in 2005. I’ve had a studio in Bushwick for just over a year.

What project(s) will you be showing during this year's open studios festival?

Well, I’ll be opening my painting studio. An understanding of “projects” in my practice extends to a thematic treatment of subject matter, but probably stops there. To that end, I’m working on some abstract paintings that I’d like to finish for the festival. It’s been a while since I’ve made abstract paintings, but given the conceptual concerns of my work, it seems time to introduce that language again.

What inspired this project?

My work uses a lot of photographic imagery and deals with the way art mediums have been constructed from their formal elements. I’m interested in a way to understand this act of construction as myth-making, so a lot of the imagery in the paintings represent various interpretations of myth. But the process of making the paintings has its own references, and the abstract paintings are about articulating that process. Where the image-based paintings evoke a kind of picture code and suggest the contingency of any image, the abstract paintings utilize the encoded terms of abstract painting in a kind of absurdist representation of avant-garde painting.

How long have you lived in Bushwick, and what initially drew you to the neighborhood?

Actually, I live in Williamsburg, but my studio is in Bushwick. I moved out of a live/work situation in Gowanus last spring, so I had to find a studio. I know a lot of people out here, which was a big draw, and the price was right. It’s a nice energy out here, although I hesitate to identify too much with a supposed “Bushwick scene”, which may be a contrivance. I just like it as a place where there a lot of art studios and creative people who are establishing a neighborhood, like Williamsburg must have been a long time ago- though there are some drawbacks to that process.

Can you recommend any Bushwick artists or art venues that you think we should check out?

Well, as an artist, I’m more naturally more inclined towards taverns than art venues, so my first recommendation is Tandem, at 136 Troutman. It’s a very comfy place with a good bar, and seems to capture some of that Bushwick energy. Starr Space can have interesting performances. It also seems like Pocket Utopia is always a friendly place that offers an alternative to market-conscious galleries and slick, heavily-curated non profit spaces.

There are a lot of good artists out here, though I don’t know how many of them will be opening their studios. Jenny Vogel will open her studio at 7 St. Nicholas St, 4th floor; she’s one of my favorite artists.

Thank you David!

To learn more about David's art practice, check out his website.

Jun 1, 2009

Interview With BOS Artist: Nesta Mayo

**Nesta Mayo will be showing her work at 796 Broadway, 2nd & 3rd fls**

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I spent most of my youth in Houston. I came to NYC to attend Hunter College, finishing my MFA in 2005.

What project(s) will you be showing during this year's open studios festival?

I have been working on a long series about Flounder, the flat fish that garbles up creatures at the bottom of the sea floor. To me, I find this creature incredibly curious in that its evolution has been so seemingly uneventful. It is a very primordial looking fish, not terribly attractive. Why have other kinds of creatures, such as peacocks, giraffes or bees for example, developed very intricate behaviors and features that for us become defined traits of beauty? The flounder needs no such frills.

What inspired this project?

The idea began as an autobiographical side project, an old memory. When I was small, my father would take me out to the flats of the Gulf of Mexico where we would set up camp on the beach, wait until sun down when the water would become calm and clear. We would very quietly wade out a hundred yards or so with a lantern and a spear. Eventually, we would see movement in the sand, just enough to hint that a flounder had burrowed itself there. Wham! We’d spear it, making all kinds of sudden ruckus, wade back to camp, clean it, cook it and go to sleep. It was quite a thrill, but strange. I didn’t quite understand the point of the whole thing. The memory is very surreal. I thought it worthy of a few drawings though now the series seems to have no end.

Any plans in the works?

I continue with the Flounder Series though literal depictions have begun to evolve into more abstract investigations of the subject. I’m starting to explore other such odd creatures that challenge my ideas of memory, ritual, beauty and behavior. Porcupines, buffalo, fleas, blowfish and vultures come to mind.

How long have you lived in Bushwick, and what initially drew you to the neighborhood?

I officially moved out here about a year ago. I had a tiny, overpriced spot on the Lower East Side for too long- totally unfit for a live/work space. I’m much happier in Bushwick where a layered sense of history has yet to feel so swept under the rug by prefab facades and, well, I won’t get into it…

Can you recommend any Bushwick artists or art venues that you think we should check out?

During BOS, the space where I work will be open. I invite you to stop in! We’ve called it Hotel. We should be on the map. Here you will find Rahul Alexander, Ken Madore, and Roy Stanfeild’s work. Having spent time with each of their work and sensibilities, I can confidently recommend the work with high enthusiasm.

Thank you Nesta!

To learn more about Nesta's art practice, check out her website.

May 28, 2009

Interview With BOS Artist: Matt Jones

**Matt Jones will be showing his work at 505 Johnson Ave, #19**

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

Oh great! I grew up in a suburb of Rochester, New York, in a loving and supportive environment, played loads of baseball and video games, and drew pictures since I could hold a crayon. At some point I realized being an artist was a real possibility and started seriously studying and practicing. I was accepted to the Cooper Union, left for New York that fall (1998), and have lived here ever since. I've had a couple of solo exhibitions with the now defunct Buia Gallery here in New York and have had work in group shows in the city and around the country.
I'm really interested in presence, the infinite moments in any duration of time, the shifting understanding of things relative to those infinite moments, and our collective agreed upon understanding of reality, and the implications of all of that. The paintings and drawings I have been making for the last year are the contemplative exploration of these attitudes and ideas.

What project(s) will you be showing during this year's open studios festival?

Space-paintings and spirit-paintings mostly.

What inspired this project?

Originally the space-paintings were started in response to an unfruitful critique taking place at the Yale/Norfolk Summer School of Painting (2001) I was in where things were said like "I'm really thinking about space, the space around objects ..." -- I felt alienated from such a discussion. It seemed academic and silly to me. Of course the paintings were about space. So, I went back to my little studio and made four or five space-paintings and the following day had a critique of these works and said something to the effect of "I'm really thinking about space, you know, like OUTER space ..." which was half true and caused a bit of a stir in the critique (some people knew what I was up to). I think a lot about outer space, but really my concerns were the same as the other guy, I was pushing around paint and trying to make something meaningful and, sure, I was serious about it too. I didn't think the discussion had to be so BORING though, devoid of content and all, the formal discussion, what was the painting about really? What was the content? Eight years later the content for my space-paintings has become clearer to me through various spiritual and meditative practices and studies I incorporate into my life. There needed to be a place, a specific point in the flow of infinite points in any space, for the spirits to inhabit. They needed to BE somewhere. So they're in space and it's scary and soothing simultaneously. I didn't want to put them there though, not overtly, I want them to want to go there -- or for us to think they'd want to go there, or to look at the possibility of this space being home for them, an extra-dimensional home that is all space, everywhere, all of the time.

The spirit-paintings came after studying about "the hungry ghost" at the Interdependence Project (on Bowery just north of Houston in the city). I thought, yes, this metaphor works, this insatiable desire machine. That's a facet of our existence, the wanting for whatever, love, hope, food, luxury goods, happiness -- mostly happiness. Then it developed further with some ideas I had played around with when I was taking some interdisciplinary classes at Cooper where we read a bunch of Deleuze (1000 Plateaus) that made me think a lot about agreed upon understandings of things and slight variations of reality which are then blown up into multiple dimensions and versions of people (presences) and how they've been labeled and talked about through time (mythology, stories, etc.). So, they continue to develop and now have a place to hang out (space-paintings). They're the big questions, you know? Who are we? How did we get here? What do we do?

Any plans in the works?

Oh yes! I was talking on the phone to my friend Mark Gibson and the idea occurred to me that I need to remake my favorite paintings I've made over the last ten years on 10 x 8" canvases and have an exhibition entitled "10 Years of Matt Jones: the Greatest Hits" or something like that. I'd re-scale all of these paintings I've made since deciding to become a painter in 1999 to the present moment. We joked about having a panel of close artist-friends discuss what the hell I've been doing these last ten years and take it really seriously, with an audience and what-not. It'd be very helpful I think.

How long have you lived in Bushwick, and what initially drew you to the neighborhood?

From 2004 to 2006 I lived on Troutman Street between Knickerbocker and Wilson Avenues. To be honest the cheap rent drew me. My current studio is located on the fringe of Bushwick's northern most point, almost to East Williamsburg. After searching for a studio for a while with my friend Kadar Brock I hooked up with the Brooklyn Fireproof guys and took over a pretty raw space. It's the same studio I had dreamed of since coming to New York. I love it.

Can you recommend any Bushwick artists or art venues that you think we should check out?

Wunder Kraft Haus at Master Kontrol, I don't think they're participating in anything for BOS this year, are pretty awesome. They live on Myrtle Ave under the M Train and have this whole future/80s/spiritual/sci-fi/high-energy/imaginative/amazing thing going on at their space and I've enjoyed them as colleagues and friends for the last two years immensely. Any time they have an event it's worth checking out. WKH's Patrick Groneman is one of the "spirits" I photographed to work on in my paintings and drawings and he initially introduced me to the Interdependence Project. They're an inspirational group of fellows.

Thank you Matt!

To learn more about Matt's art practice, check out his website.

May 27, 2009

Interview With BOS Artist: Jenny Vogel

**Jenny Vogel will be showing her work at 7 St. Nicholas Ave, 4th FL**

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

My work explores subjective themes as they are experienced in the age of information. I examine the anxiety of alienation, the desires of communication and a sense of be-longing in a virtual world. These traits, attributed to Romanticism, are dealt with in my work through the lenses of contemporary communication technology, the media and historical preconceptions. I am particularly interested in the depiction of the individual and individuality through media technology, with its resulting misrepresentations and miscommunications. Through this juxtaposition of technology and Romanticism I attempt to challenge the image of the Internet as the “global village,” objectivism in the news and the ideology of science.

What project(s) will you be showing during this year's open studios festival?

I will be showing "Your Lips Are No Man's Land But Mine", a series of b & w portraits depicting people in front of their web cameras. There will also be examples of recently finished works on paper and whatever else I am working on at the moment.

What inspired this project?

"Your Lips Are No Man's Land But Mine" is a continuation of my interest in web cameras, and the sculpture-like presence of their users. With staring eyes and expressionless features, the portraits question modern technology's hyped communication tools, and renders its users as examples of a contemporary loneliness.

Any plans in the works?

I am currently collaborating on a performance with Fever Theater from Portland, OR. We are experimenting with a combination of live-webcamera streams, pre-recorded material and on-stage presence.

How long have you lived in Bushwick, and what initially drew you to the neighborhood?

I actually don't live in Bushwick, but I like having my studio here. There is very little distraction once I get to my studio, at the same time many of my friends have studios in the neighborhood, so there is a sense of a community.

Can you recommend any Bushwick artists or art venues that you think we should check out?

You should go see David McBride's paintings and collages (1182 Flushing Ave, 2nd Floor).

Thank you Jenny!

To learn more about Jenny's art practice, check out her website.

May 26, 2009

Tonight at the Brooklyn Museum of Art: Collecting in Brooklyn

Arts in Bushwick organizer Steve Weintraub will be speaking on a panel tonight at the Brooklyn Musueum, as part of the new Art Salon Series. Tonight's panel will be devoted to collecting artwork by Brooklyn artists! Details below:

"Collecting Currently is a new evening series on art collecting in the
fluctuating market for both the savvy and the curious. Enjoy a glass
of wine while conversing with and learning from curators, scholars,
dealers, consultants, and collectors.

Collecting in Brooklyn
Wednesday, May 27, 7 - 8:30 p.m.

Familiarize yourself with the work of emerging Brooklyn artists and
develop insider strategies for art collecting. Moderated by András
Szántó, senior lecturer at Sotheby's Institute of Art and co-founder
of ArtWorldsalon.com, the panel includes Danny Simmons, noted artist and collector; Joe Amrhein from Williamsburg's Pierogi Gallery; Steve Weintraub of Arts in Bushwick; and Jen Bekman of Jen Bekman Gallery and Jen Bekman Projects, Inc."

So you think you can dance in Bushwick?

Hey all my Bushwickans, Bushwickers--or whatever all you folks who reside in Bushwick, Brooklyn like to consider yourself—doesn’t it make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside when you hear about all the great things happening in Bushwick? Right on the heels of seeing this awesome clip on BRIC’s Community Media Page about Bushwick (with great interviews with some of our peeps from Arts in Bushwick). I sat down with Jane Gabriels from Chez Bushwick very, very early last Tuesday morning (8am to be exact) to discuss how Chez Bushwick will be involved in Bushwick Open Studios on the weekend of June 5-7.

So before I get down to the nitty gritty let me give you a bit of background info about Chez Bushwick. According to Gabriels, Jonah Bokaer, Founding Director of Chez Bushwick started out in Bushwick in 1999 then left for a brief period to come back in 2002 with a composer, Loren Dempster and Jeremy Wade. According to Chez Bushwick’s website the founding artists also include: Alex Escalante, Brennan Gerard, Meredith Glisson, Miguel Gutierrez, Ryan Kelly, Technopia and Ryan Tracy. As a collective they formed the space and did all of the construction within like building the walls that partition the space and make it both office space and dance space. Once opened they immediately began hosting performances. Gabriels actually recalls coming to a few of these shows back when Chez Bushwick first popped onto the scene. She remembers it taking a long time to get to Bushwick from Manhattan; however, once she arrived she was always surprised at the large turnout of people at the shows. The space was always packed with over 100 observers most times. She also remembers the high quality and uniqueness of the work.

Chez Bushwick is dedicated to presenting choreography that is edgy, new, and interdisciplinary. It has also become well known for garnering some pretty awesome relationships with international artists. Chez Bushwick boasts an 1176 sq. ft. studio that acts as a space for rehearsals, dance classes and performances. The space also has an abundance of natural light, hardwood floors and 12 ft. ceilings. The organization’s rental program is heavily subsidized by individual, government and foundation support in order to offer a rental rate of $5 an hour (pretty frickin' sweet!). Since February of this year performers and choreographers have been able to rent the studio at anytime; they have a key system set up with the Brooklyn Natural that allows the space to be available to renters 24 hours.

Jonah Bokaer

Bokaer recently completed a massive project with choreographer John Jasperse called, Center for Performance Research. Center for Performance Research is a newly constructed space located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn which is the first green/L.E.E.D. certified building of its kind in the borough. The bottom floor houses a small studio gallery space, a theater, office and community center; the top floors have been sold for use as condominiums. Bokaer and Jasperse worked with a developer to make it completely artist friendly (more importantly dance friendly there are no columns in the space to obstruct movement rehearsals…yay!). Bokaer adds to his amazing resume with yet another development called, CAPITAL B: Coalition of Art and Performance Initiatives Towards a Livable Bushwick. Basically, Capital B is just what its name describes it as. Chez Bushwick is partnering with several organizations in the community: non-profit, small business, arts-based as well as with local residents to create economic development solutions for urban revitalization. And yes this is where Arts in Bushwick comes in—Arts in Bushwick is one of the coalition organizers for Capital B. The Capital B project is funded by a generous grant from the Rockefeller Foundation.

So now for the juice…

During the weekend of Bushwick Open Studios the Austrian Cultural Forum (NYC) in partnership with Movement Research and Tanzquartier Wien will be presenting, “Re-Imagining Utopia in New York City/Austria-NYC Dialogue.” The production consists of eight artist groups and two theorists from both NYC and Austria, who have come together to exchange and share movement ideas about the future of the arts in relation to the global economic crisis. These groups of artists will be performing in several locations throughout Bushwick with Chez Bushwick being the starting location. Folks interested in viewing this amazing-sounding performance should arrive at Chez Bushwick on Saturday, June 6 at 12:00pm. Showings of the work will continue until 8pm at various locations throughout Bushwick including: The Border, BRAZIL and outdoor sites. “Re-Imagining Utopia in New York City/Austria-NYC Dialogue” began in 2008 as part of the Transversality Lab (TVL).

Re-Imagining Utopia Schedule Details
12:00pm Melinda Ring and Ann Liv Young @ Chez Bushwick. 1:30 Doris Uhlich & Andrea Salzmann and Cabula6 (Jeremy Xido and Claudia Heu) @ outdoor sites. Audience meets in front of Chez Bushwick and will be guided to the outdoor sites in Bushwick. 4:00pm Jill Sigman, Jenn Joy and Anette Baldauf @ The Border. 6:00pm Philipp Gehmacher & Vladimir Miller installation and Eagle Ager & united sorry (Frans Poelstra & Robert Steijn) @ BRAZIL. For more information about the project follow this link

My next interview will be with Jill Sigman from Think Dance who will also be a participating artist of “Re-Imagining Utopia in New York City/Austria-NYC Dialogue.” I’m excited!
Stay tuned…

May 23, 2009

Interview With BOS Artist: Katie Cercone

**Katie Cercone will be showing her work at 88 Starr Street, #3L**

What project(s) will you be showing during this year's open studios festival?

I just returned from a one-month residency in La Plata, Buenos Aires and I will be showing a series of collages I made there. The series is named Botánica Azúcar (Botánica Sugar) to connote the small store common in Latin America (and Bushwick!) known for its magical or alternative medicine, and explores the creative deterritorialization of women and birds. I am working from two texts by Australian Feminist Elizabeth Grosz (Chaos, Territory, Art 2008 and Volatile Bodies 1994). The collages are representative of my visual conception of “ the refrain,” what Grosz, expanding upon work by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guatarri, characterizes as the bird’s demarcation of territory though melody and rhythms, routine gestures, bows and dips, her nest, her clearing, her audience of rivals and desired ones. The refrain is the bird’s chief means of creating a home and circle of control, and paradoxically, her line of flight to the outside. Creativity, envisioned as a flight line, is a vital means of escape from a territory that has ceased to be of healthful benefit. I used all material I found in La Plata, and most of the imagery came from these incredibly scary textbooks I picked up for a few pesos each at el Ejercito de Salvacion titled “Ser Mujer” (Being a Woman). The pictures are so disturbing and marvelous. I also started translating some of the text and want to make a zine in English and Spanish.

What inspired this project?

This project is really personal, it’s a sort of talisman for my own physical, emotional and mental health and a product of my increasingly disenchanted view of our medical model in the U.S. Botánica Azúcar is a narrative critique of the contemporary female condition suggesting that women, like birds, always hover at the edge of breaking free. Female bodies fall prey to particular types of constructed habitats and desires. Domesticated and falsely stratified, particularly by capitalism working in collusion with medical authority, acculturation cripples female energetic capacity that is by nature, a flow. Whereas bodies should be, “sufficiently rich for the passage of intensities,” I find most of us these days are blocked; we are caught in a cycle of withdrawal. Ultimately I wanted to urge others to take a look at their own personal circle of control, rooting out what is foreign and has somehow become naturalized.

Any plans in the works?

I am getting my masters at SVA this fall – I am hoping that’ll be just the kick in the pants I need to make some massive work. Right now I see myself expanding on these same themes, and reading the rest of Grosz’s writing. I also made an installation for Botánica Azúcar that I wasn’t totally happy with. I’d like to maybe make something bigger, turning this into a more long term project.

How long have you lived in Bushwick, and what initially drew you to the neighborhood?

I have lived in Bushwick for three years now. I originally came because I knew it was cheap and full of artists. One of my first experiences with Bushwick was an open studio I did a couple of years ago with BOS. That was back when I was even more naïve about the art word and looking back, feel like I had much more of a sense of freedom to just work regardless of the outcome. BOS was much smaller than and only a handful of my friends came and saw this installation I had spent months building literally in my bed for lack of space. What ultimately happened was I sent some photos to a non-profit gallery in D.C. and ended up curating a show for them. The second time I did something for Beta Spaces I was amazed to see over a hundred people go through my house, people of all ages and sizes. It made me so happy to live in Bushwick and be a part of a community that to a certain extent exists above and beyond the elitism of the commercial art world. I think because of its relative affordability and location Bushwick has created sort of a hotbed for young artists to collaborate and make work on their own terms. That is, until Paper Magazine destroyed us with that stupid fashion shoot! Notoriety is a double-edged sword.

Can you recommend any Bushwick artists or art venues that you think we should check out?

Probably not any that you aren’t aware of – I live right next to Starr Space and they do good things. To be honest I wish I got out in the neighborhood more. One thing I didn’t miss during my residency was running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to make art, work, see friends and attend the endless stream of cultural events in New York.

Thank you Katie!

To learn more about Katie's art practice, check out her website.

May 21, 2009

Interview with BOS Artist: Gina Beavers

**Gina Beavers will be showing her work at 1 Grattan Street, #215**

What project(s) will you be showing during this year's open studios festival?

I'm going to be showing paintings and prints from the last 6 months or so. I'll also have some photocopy prints for sale, super cheap!

What inspired this work?

My work is ultimately autobiographical, with a sprinkling of 'painting about painting' thrown in. The images are ones that I come across in my day to day life. The pieces I'm showing are based on images I have glanced in the background of a SciFi movie, on google and in old nature magazines.

Any plans in the works?

I'm going to be starting some larger scale works based on things I saw recently on a trip to the mountains in Appalachia, as well as wrapping up some ideas based on fabrics. I'm also hoping to experiment with some screenprinting this summer.

How long have you lived in Bushwick, and what initially drew you to the neighborhood?

I've had a studio in Bushwick since the summer of 2006. When I first came out to look at the space, I was kind of shocked at how much was going on. There definitely seemed to be something exciting brewing that was unique to Bushwick. It seemed like out of this kind of Industrial wasteland, a vital creative scene was rising and I wanted to be a part of it..

Can you recommend any Bushwick artists or art venues that you think we should check out?

So many great artists live or work in Bushwick, that its difficult, I can't begin to cover them all! I haven't seen the full list of who's participating yet, but Pocket Utopia does really interesting, cool things as does English Kills down the street. I would also check out the open studios at Lumenhouse, Megan Hays and Sara Hubbs do really inventive, exciting stuff with found materials. Also, Starr Space is awesome!. They do great shows and have excellent DJS and dancing!!

Thank you Gina!

To learn more about Gina's art practice, check out her website.